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Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood


Between 1929 and 1934, for five short years, women in american cinema were modern out of wedlock, and did other things considered amoral at the time. ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood

Overall customer rating: 5.000

Immoral morality

by BruceHH on Feb 8, 2010

The preponderance of this book covers the female stars of Pre-Code Hollywood. The movies and actresses of this era reflected the new freedoms women had obtained as a result of changes in society. In the movies women were empowered and on an equal footing as men. Sex and romance combined to provide movie goers an idea of the new society. Stars like Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo exuded a sensuality that enticed men and women into the movies. Alas, reality was not to last. Anti-Semetic misogynists such as Joseph Breen, Christian fundamentalist (Roman Catholic and Protestant), and the Legion of Decency saw to it that strict moralistic 19th century propaganda was placed on the screen. Woman was subservient to man. A man could commit adultery and would always be taken back by a smiling wife. If his wife also cheated then she bore the consequences by dying. It was forbidden to portray independent women succeeding and having a good life. As a result, the Pre-Code films makers and the actresses lost their appeal as they were confined by strictures of the code. It wasn't until the last decades of the last century that the code was done away with, but the damage was done. No longer was romance and sex intertwined. Joseph Breen and his Legion of Decency has given us a 'cold-blooded and often depraved cinema that gives us sex with no humanity, feeling, or tenderness. Unfortunately, it seems there are those in this country that want us to return to the censorship which exposes their propaganda for their idea of morality.

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